December 5, 2008
This week concluded the "On the Road to Better Business" tour, and I am incredibly grateful to each of you who took the time from your busy day to meet with me.
When Governor Crist appointed me as Secretary of DBPR, the first thing I wanted to do was to get my arms around what we were doing, how well we were doing it, and how we could make it better. Having been the Deputy Secretary for the business side of the house, I was very familiar with the divisions of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, Pari-Mutuel Wagering, Hotels and Restaurants, and Condominiums, Mobile Homes, and Timeshares; however, I was less familiar with the professions' side.
The consumers and licensees, who met with me while "On the Road to Better Business," provided invaluable, succinct and direct feedback. After several meetings, I began to notice trends in issues. Unlicensed activity was the most frequently discussed concern with industry members saying that it has grown increasingly worse with the downturn in the economy. Cumbersome Department processes, such as too few fingerprinting locations or paper applications, were other common concerns.
We all know the saying that "knowing is half the battle," and there is no truer adage for "On the Road to Better Business." After each tour stop, we analyzed the minutes that were taken during the meetings, assigned Department staff to research and solve any problems or suggestions, and identified any systematic issues. Then, we rolled up our sleeves and began enhancing our processes.
For instance, Gill in Pensacola expressed frustration with the limited number of fingerprinting sites; we are now offering more electronic finger printing locations. David, a building inspector I met with in Jacksonville, said he wanted to be able to fill out applications online without having to print them out; we are now providing editable applications online. Kristie from Ft. Lauderdale felt frustration with our call center; we have now provided our agents with enhanced customer relations management software. Dawn, a real estate broker from Tampa, was having difficulty changing the name of her business; we are now simplifying the corporate name change application.
We also executed our first-ever statewide unlicensed activity sting last month, checking 468 people's licenses and issuing 17 notices of non-compliance, 17 citations, and 27 notices to cease and desist. The sweeps included checking pool, electrical, roofing, and construction licenses and permits.
The best part of the meetings was that although licensees had concerns with Department processes, they had great things to say about the people who work here. I know that we will continue to improve the way we serve our licensees and the people of Florida. It takes great people to affect change, and we’re fortunate to have a wonderful team.
Charles W. Drago
Department of Business and
upcoming board meetings
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